Labuan Places of Interest

January 3, 2010

An’Nur Jamek Mosque

This splendid mosque was built at a cost of US$11 million and is the pride of the Labuan’s Muslim community. Its futuristic architecture symbolizes the progressive spirit of the people and island of Labuan.

World War II Memorial Park

A beautifully landscaped cemetery, the War Memorial is located at Tanjung Purun on the outskirts of Labuan town (formerly Victoria Town). The memorial is the final resting place of fallen Allied soldiers. Maintained by the Commonwealth War Commission, it is a poignant memorial to the 4,000 Australian, New Zealand, and British Allied servicemen who had lost their lives during the World War II. A section is also dedicated to the Indian Soldiers of the Punjab Regiment who died fighting alongside their comrades. Many visitors, especially those from Australia, often return annually to pay their respects to lost friends and relatives.

Labuan Square

Previously known as the “Labuan Town Field”, it has since been transformed into an interesting park with neat lawns and fine examples of trees, shrubs, and flora that are indigenous to Labuan. The park’s design reflects Labuan’s status as an International Offshore Financial Centre and is a popular place to stroll and relax.

Peace Park

Located at Layang-Layangan Village in the west coast of Labuan, Peace Park is dedicated to all fallen soldiers of World War II. This beautifully landscaped park has developed into a place of pilgrimage for those who visit Labuan. Located next to it is Surrender Point. It was built as a memorial where the commander of the Japanese Army surrendered to the Australian on September 9th, 1945, which led to the end of World War II in Borneo.

Kampung Ayer (Water Village)

There are a few stilt villages that can be found on this island. Kampung Patau-Patau and Kampung Bebuloh Laut are two fine examples. Clusters of Malay-styled wooden houses on stilts are built out over the sea and are connected to the land by raised walkways. Currently, efforts are made to ensure that these scenic water villages are not bypassed by the rapid development that is transforming the island. A modern water village complex has been built to cater to thousands of visitors. It is facilitated with seafood restaurants, shopping malls, and a boardwalk. Visitors can also stay in waterfront chalets or enjoy a host of water sports activities.

The Chimney

Situated at Tanjong Kubong, the Chimney is the only reminder of the coaling days of Labuan. The coal-mining era started in 1847 and ended in 1912. During that time, Labuan was used as a coaling station for ships sailing to the Far East. A single rail track was constructed to transport coal to the Victoria Port.

Financial Park

Recently completed, the Financial Park at Jalan Merdeka houses international offshore banks, and insurance and trust companies. A 1,500 sitting capacity convention hall and large shopping mall is also available for visitors. This modern complex is reputed to be the only one of its kind in any International Offshore Financial Centre throughout the world.

Labuan Market

Located in the heart of Labuan town, the Labuan Market is a lively place full of colors, sights, smells, and sounds. Test your bargaining skills while finding your way around the bustling crowds. A variety of local produce such as fruits, vegetables, fresh spices, fish, prawns, batik, rattan and other handicrafts are sold. Products from around the region are also sold here.

Beaches & Islands

Labuan and its neighbouring islands are a sun-seeker’s paradise with breathtaking panoramic views of the South China Sea, secluded white sandy beaches, and lots of tropical sunshine. The remote islands of Papan, Kuraman, Daat, Rusukan Besar, Rusukan Kecil, and Burong have plenty to offer. Visitors can spend the day exploring the beaches or the dense jungle inland, which is home to a variety of plants and animal. There are also a variety of water sports, such as jet skiing, wind surfing, scuba diving, fishing, and even wreck diving. The crystal clear water offers a window to the rich marine life of the South China Sea.

Wreck Diving

Labuan offers ideal diving conditions all year round for beginning, novice, and seasoned divers. Crystal clear waters and an opulence of shipwrecks have made Labuan the region’s center for wreck diving. Four shipwrecks have been discovered so far. Two were sunk during World War II and the other two were commercial vessels that sank in the 1980s. Diving expeditions can be arranged to Labuan’s four major wrecks: American, Australian, Blue Water, and Cement Wreck.


Labuan Stamps History

January 3, 2010

A post office was operating in Labuan by 1864, and used a circular date stamp as postmark. The postage stamps of India and Hong Kong were used on some mail, but they were probably carried there by individuals, instead of being on sale in Labuan. Mail was routed through Singapore. From 1867 Labuan officially used the postage stamps of the Straits Settlements, then issued its own beginning in May 1879.

The first stamps of Labuan depict the usual profile of Queen Victoria, but are unusual for being inscribed in Arabic and Chinese scripts in addition to “LABUAN POSTAGE”. Perennial shortages necessitated a variety of surcharges in between the several reprints and colour changes of the 1880s. The original stamps were engraved, but the last of the design, in April 1894, were done by lithography.

Beginning in May 1894, the designs of North Borneo were printed in different colours, with “LABUAN” either engraved into the vignette or overprinted. On 24 September 1896, the 50th anniversary of the cession was marked by overprinting “1846 / JUBILEE / 1896” on the overprinted North Borneo designs. Additional overprints appeared through the 1890s. In 1899 many types were surcharged with a value of 4 cents.

A last Labuan-only design came out in 1902, depicting a crown and inscribed “LABUAN COLONY”. After incorporation into the Straits Settlements in 1906, Labuan ceased issuing its own stamps, although they remained valid for some time. Many of the remainders were cancelled to order for sale to collectors, and are now worth only pennies; genuine postal uses are worth much more.

Labuan History

January 3, 2010

Labuan was a part of the Brunei Sultanate.

In the 1840s the previously-uninhabited island was proposed as a base for British operations against piracy in the South China Sea. The Sultan of Brunei ceded Labuan to Britain in 1846, and the island became a Crown Colony in 1848. The first White Rajah of Sarawak, James Brooke was appointed first commander-in-chief and Governor of the territory. In 1849 the Eastern Archipelago Company became the first of many companies trying to exploit its coal deposits and establish it as a coaling station for the China trade. It later became a station for the submarine cable between Singapore and Hong Kong.

It was made a part of North Borneo on 1 January 1890, then on 30 October 1906 joined to the Straits Settlements.

During World War II, Labuan was occupied by Japan from December 1941 to June 1945 and governed as part of the Northern Borneo military unit by the Japanese 37th Army. Labuan was renamed Maida Island after Marquis Toshinari Maeda, the first commander of Japanese forces in northern Borneo. The island was retaken by Australian forces in Operation Oboe Six, in June 1945. Labuan assumed its former name and was under British military administration (along with the rest of the Straits Settlements), then joined to British North Borneo, on 15 July 1946, which in turn became a part of Malaysia as the state of Sabah in 1963.

In 1984, Labuan was ceded by Sabah to the federal government and made a federal territory. In 1990, it was declared an international offshore financial centre and free trade zone. The Labuan International Business and Financial Centre (Labuan IBFC) was created as Malaysia’s only offshore financial hub on October 1990 and was operating under the name of Labuan International Offshore Financial Centre (IOFC). At the time it was established to strengthen the contribution of financial services to the Gross National Products (GNP) of Malaysia as well as to develop the island and its surrounding vicinity. The jurisdiction, supervised by the Labuan Offshore Financial Services Authority or LOFSA, offers benefits such as 3% tax on net audited results or a flat rate of Malaysian Ringgit (MYR) 20,000 to trading companies; low operational costs; liberal exchange controls; and a host of other advantages including readily available, experienced and professional service providers.

Since its inception, the jurisdiction has expanded to become a base for more than 6,500 offshore companies and more than 300 licensed financial institutions including world leading banks. Labuan IBFC is embarking on an aggressive growth strategy to become the premier international business and financial centre in the Asia Pacific region.

Labuan’s business focus is on five core areas: offshore holding companies, captive insurance, Shariah-compliant Islamic Finance structures, public and private funds and wealth management. Labuan IBFC’s position is further enhanced by the launch of the Malaysian International Islamic Finance Centre initiative in August 2006.

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